As the California Citizens Redistricting Commission heads down the homestretch toward remaking the state’s political boundaries, it’s looking more and more as if Orange County’s congressional delegation will grow by one.

The proposed new lines increase from six to seven the number of congressional seats that include parts of Orange County. The seventh would result from La Palma being attached to a Los Angeles County congressional district. La Palma is Orange County’s smallest city — only 1.82 square miles with 15,568 residents, according to the most recent census.

Other proposed and existing districts cross into Orange County from the north, south and east but absorb larger populations.

Districts cross borders to give them equal population. All congressional districts must have virtually identical populations, varying by no more than one resident.

State legislative districts also must be as close as possible in population but are allowed more variation.

The county would continue to have five state senators, but its number of Assembly members would drop from nine to seven.

For a general idea of the new maps, go to the commission’s website and click on the statewide database. In the pull-down menu at the top left corner, select the statewide maps labeled “q2 congress,” “q2 senate” or “q2 assembly.”

Another excellent resource is Meridian Pacific’s detailed maps, but check that maps are current as of July 24.

The 14-member commission has five Democrats, five Republicans and four members who belong to no political party. The commission replaces a political process in which legislators, working in secret, drew their own maps every 10 years after the U.S. census.

The commission not only draws its lines in public, it broadcasts its sessions over the Internet. It has an email system that allows members of the public to comment on plans as they are being drafted and submit their own proposed lines.

In many cases, the commissioners have used public suggestions to change draft boundaries.


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